How perfect to write a 2013 retrospective four days into 2014. No sense starting a new year by suddenly not putting off what you can do now to a few days later.
2013 was something else. It was for me and probably was for you, too. Every year we have life events that we’ll never forget, good or bad, and, in keeping with a sports theme for a sports blog, same with sports.
In the last week of the last year, as ESPN showed highlights of 2013, an announcer said it might have been the most amazing year ever for highlights and that it would be hard to top.
No it won’t.
Every year there will be great plays made in great games by great athletes. There will be drama, excitement, heartbreak and triumph.
Just like in life.
In mine, there were things I’ll never forget. Like all of us meeting in Moab, Utah, in early July for five days of hiking, drinking and bonding. Our friends Phil Hrichak and Terry Coomes from Winston-Salem joined our family: Brenda and me; Stacey and her husband, Graham, and kids Sydney and Gavyn; and Kirk and his wife, Lindsey.
On our last day, after Phil and Terry had to leave, we hiked again to Delicate Arch in Arches National Park and took this picture at one of my favorite places on the planet:
In an earlier The Swog Blog, I wrote about my previous hike to that spot and my thoughts about losing one of my best friends, Chris Cox, who succumbed to cancer in June. If you missed it, here’s a link:
More than anything, Chris’s death was the most impactful event of my 2013. I hadn’t lost a friend that close and hardly a day goes by when I don’t think of him or his wife, Maria, or son, Tim, who is a freshman track athlete at Yale. We had a great visit with Maria when Brenda and I visited Kirk and Lindsey at their new house in Swampscott, Massachusetts, in October.
Before we get to the other sports, Brenda and her sister, Nanette, won the national Senior Games pickleball championship in Cleveland in July.
You can check out the story about her on her school website:
Or see a video from the finals on my YouTube channel:
My mom doesn’t play any sports. Of course, she’s 83. But Joan Feinswog is doing great and I was fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with her in 2013 at her home in Palm Coast, Florida, and she even made a trip to BR in May where we took this family photo:
Meanwhile, back at Sports 225, 2013 was a big year for us in two regards.
First, thanks to Jason Furrate and Eric Coleman at Cox, we have the most incredible new set. And, also thanks to them and the folks at CST, we are now seen in full HD on Cox Sports TV not only in Baton Rouge but everywhere they get that regional network. We continue to have too much fun doing the show, continue to get the best guests of any local TV show and continue to have fantastic support from our sponsors.
What’s more, none of it would have happened without the incredible work of John Wiams, who directs the show in studio and has taken on much of the video-production end. He also has the most amazing wedding video business, so if you or someone you know is getting married, check out his work here and hire him:
For me, I also had too much fun writing for Volleyball magazine and covering the sport in which I’m so involved. In May, there was the NCAA men’s final four in Los Angeles, which I just happened to turn into a water polo trip, and then the women’s in Seattle in late December. Along the way
there were some great stories to be written that you can check out here:
And, since I mentioned water polo, we had the best year ever with the LSU water polo team, where participation was awesome and kids did great in tournaments. I went to my annual KAOS camp in Santa Monica and will again this February 28, and also hooked up with some great guys from Calgary. I played with them in the masters Pan Am Games in Orlando in June and then again at a camp in November in Fort Lauderdale.
Never lose sight of the message that sports is where we go and who we meet. I’ve been so lucky with both.
That includes my girls volleyball club, Volleyball Baton Rouge, where we had tremendous success on the court and wonderful experiences off it. VBR is a place where girls get to compete and learn life lessons. We expect nothing less in 2014.
Check us out at www.volleyballbr.net
I guess no Swog Blog yearlong recap/look ahead/whatever would be complete without mentioning LSU.
2013 saw a resurgence of LSU basketball with no reason to think 2014 won’t be a great year for Johnny Jones and his program. LSU basketball might be knocking on the door of the top echelon of college hoops. It’s so much more fun in the PMAC when LSU is good, so it’s pretty exciting.
The best interview in town, Paul Mainieri, and his LSU baseball team continue to live near the top of the college baseball world.
And in football, no matter who they got there, the Tigers finished 10-3 and once again remain a force in the sport. Les Miles will start his 10th year in 2014, the best decade in the history of LSU football. He can confound you and sometimes you watch an LSU game and think that you just squandered almost four hours of your life that you can never get back, but Les Miles teams get the job done.
I think that’s enough. Thanks for hanging with this for this long. In 2014 we’ll have the Winter Olympics, a World Cup, the usual sports seasons, and, when it’s all said and done, enough highlights to prove that ESPN announcer wrong.
As I said earlier, every year there will be great plays made in great games by great athletes. There will be drama, excitement, heartbreak and triumph.
Just like in life.